My family and I love to travel. When I was a kid, we'd go on a "big trip" every 2nd year, and a "small trip" every year. In the past couple of years, my Mom's been to multiple continents, while my younger brother has lived out of a van in New Zealand and went backpacking across Peru. I, on the other hand, became terrified of travelling when I developed POTS in January 2014. Just the thought of being in a foreign country, without the security of medical insurance, doctors who know my conditions, and barometric pressure I'm used to was enough to make me panic. POTS turned me into a 21-year-old woman who, after being on an airplane over 100 times in my life, was now terrified of going on a plane.
I no longer travel as much as I used to, but I recently realized that I've been on a plane 16 times since developing POTS. I've also camped, been on a few small road trips, and have stayed in a hostel. The only way I was able to conquer my new fear of travelling was by doing what I was afraid of, but not without extensive preparation. My personal travel experiences have slowly taught me the most efficient ways to pack everything I need to accommodate my symptoms.
I'm a list maker and always have been, so when I first started travelling with a chronic illness, I made a few trip-specific packing lists on my phone's memopad. Over the years, these lists evolved and have become more efficient. Recently I went on a mini road trip with 2 friends, in 2 weeks I'll be going on a small road trip for a friend's bachelorette party, and in September I will be flying to see my POTS specialist, Dr. Raj. Sine packing is on my mind, and I often get a lot of questions about it, I thought I'd create and share some printable packing lists you can all use for your next trip!
Of course, the medical supplies I need might not necessarily be what you need, as many of our health issues are different. I designed these lists with my specific health needs in mind, but I tried to make them more accommodating by making prompts that would encourage you to think of what you might need for your specific symptoms.
So take a look, save for later, or print out these lists and put them on your suitcase so you don't forget! Have a safe and great trip!
The Ultimate Packing List for Airplane Travel with a Chronic Illness
If you haven't already, I highly recommend reading my older blog post "Tips for Travelling with POTS" to see what has helped me make airplane travel more bearable.
The Ultimate Packing List for Going on a Road Trip with a Chronic Illness
The Ultimate Packing List for Camping with a Chronic Illness
Camping is one of my favourite things to do. Unfortunately, it's also one of the most draining things for me to do. Camping requires so much more packing than any other type of travelling I've done. I can't and don't hike, but it still takes a lot of energy to bring equipment we take advantage of at home (a cooler, a bed, a tent, warmth) from the car to the site. Thankfully I've only travelled with people who have taken care of all the carrying (besides my own personal bags), unpacking of our equipment, and putting up the tent. I don't think I'd ever have enough energy to do all of that on my own.
The Ultimate Packing List for Staying in a Hostel with a Chronic Illness
What are some items you’ve started to pack that you wish you thought of earlier? Let us know in the comment section below!